California

Exposure

In the last week, I’ve notice a lot of mommy outrage about the Superbowl. Having not actually watched the Superbowl, I had to do a little investigation to figure out why people were so upset (other than it might be the stupidest day of the year that is . .. what? did I say that out loud?).

Apparently, there was a lot of sex at the Superbowl. From Beyonce’s thighs of fury to suggestive commercials, the children of the United States got the sex talk without the explanation that it is a magical thing that happens between two people who love each other . . . (isn’t that what your parents told you too?).

All this furor got me thinking. My son is literally months (days, maybe) from the official sex talk. I can see it approaching and cringe because it marks a transition from pure childhood to that crazy world of adulthood accompanied by that awkward period between the sex talk and actual crazy adulthood of the shadow land where you are aware that EVERYONE either has a penis or a vagina that DO things. I think most people call that time Junior High.

I don’t want to lose my sweet, innocent boy. But I know that it is something that happens. And as sad as it makes me, it’s okay that he figures out the biology of reproduction. Still, I most definitely don’t want him to have to figure out that he’s a sexual being because he saw something on TV.

Sex is not shameful. But it is also not something we need to use as a marketing tool.

Yet, honestly, sex isn’t why I am writing this post. For every sexy sexy commercial there was during the Superbowl, there was another commercial or message of violence. As far as I know, very few mommies are outraged about the rampant exposure to violence our children face daily.

Even I, with my nice little soapbox, have to struggle to realign my thinking here. I have time and time again thought about a movie or book or video game or whatever, “oh, it’s just violence. That’s fine.”

But really it isn’t fine. And as more and more studies show that desensitizing our youth to violence is having a detrimental effect to their being empathetic adults, I think that we as parents need to protect that precious human trait.

There’s something wrong when I cringe if my son sees a nipple yet am completely okay as he watches someone get their brains blown out. Or worse, blows that person’s brains out in a video game.

What am I teaching my son? What am I doing to his psyche?

I too share in the horror of what our children are exposed to in our culture. And I want to be wise with what my son assimilates as “normal” and “moral.” But I also want to be wise in what I become outraged about as being beyond his ken. In this time when we are hearing about people who shoot up elementary schools, I want to protect my son’s mind from thinking that shooting people is ever okay.

When it comes down to it, I guess I’d rather have my son see Beyonce’s bone-crusher camel-toe than Seal Team 6 take out an entire village of “hostiles.” Somehow it’s easier to explain someone’s individual choice to be sexually open than a national ideal that slaughter is not only okay but is necessary.

Both are wrongs perpetrated on our children. I think I want to be more wary of the one we deem “necessary.”

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One thought on “Exposure

  1. I only watched a small portion of the Superbowl but was shocked with the utter lack of sportsmanship and fighting between players. I thought how I wouldn’t want my child to see it. Of course, I didn’t hear anything about this the next day.

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